AFL Round 18 – St Kilda v Fremantle: Hope has been revived

It was a normal day at home for a 13 year old Saints fan, and I had no interest in this game. Not when the odds were like so. Not when the Saints hadn’t won a game for 11 weeks. For me, it was a weekend where the poor Saints cheersquad at the Lockett end would tire their arms, waving red, white and black floggers as the Dockers shot for goal.

I had my usual collection: my phone was on, and I was playing games on my iPad. All my homework was done, but I had a big feeling life was not any easier until the Saints won. Even by a point.

I had the phone on my desk while I played. It kept track of the score.

I wasn’t completely hopeless about everything, I reminded my Demons friend that we did beat Fremantle last year by 71. He said, “Give up. It’s Fremantle.”

As an optimist, I like taking early signs as omens. The Geelong game at the Cattery a few weeks ago, Maverick Weller kicked a goal in 13 seconds. I believed. Only to get stomped on by 96 points.

So, even as an optimist, one could see how pessimistic I was when I ignored my phone as the Saints took an early 21-1 lead over the Dockers. 21 became 27. Then, I turned off my iPad and watched as the Saints hauled themselves to a (SURELY?!) unassailable 40 points.

40 points in 2 quarters? They’ll peg us back.

I went out to grab a bite from Subways, only to watch my Saints progress forward. Finally. Stanley was the target, and he was marvellous. We weren’t bombing it to Riewoldt. We were patient. This is the St.Kilda of 2009-10.

By the time I got back, it was three quarter time, and the scoreline showed St.Kilda 104-36.

I thought to myself, in the thought of a pessimist, “They’ll kick 5 consolation goals this quarter”.

I was wrong. The Saints defence withstood the Dockers, allowing only 4 goals, while kicking 2 ourselves.

I was overjoyed. I was delighted. It was heaven, shining on St.Kilda. 58 points against a top 2 side? I’d have taken a point over Brisbane, but hell yah for option 1!

My highlight of the day is a surprising one. Rhys Stanley’s towering marks, Nick Riewoldt’s courage, Lenny’s Hayes’ prolific use of the ball and brutal tackling (I will miss him). It was hard. But it came in, surprisingly, the last quarter, with 8 and a half minutes remaining.

It was in the Saints goal square, a squabble had broken out, and the big ruck men were in it. Billy Longer, a new recruit for St.Kilda, and Zac Clarke, a skilled Docker ruckman.

The two were locked in arms, before Longer was able to break free and point in the direction of the scoreboard, and apparently mutter to Clarke, “Look at the scoreboard, mate!”

I cracked my head off laughing at this, as Clarke has been completely scorched.

This excited me, because Billy Longer was new to St.Kilda, yet 18 rounds in, he showed such loyalty and courage to stand up to Clarke. He thrashed him all day in the ruck, winning the hit-outs 52-39. For him to beat such an exciting player (possibly with help from Stanley) is clear proof St.Kilda are heading forward. For the first time in 11 weeks.

I can now wear a Saints jumper with pride.

Farewell Lenny Hayes, this story is dedicated to you. Love to you from all Sainters.

 

St.Kilda 4.3 9.6 15.14 17.16

Fremantle 1.1 3.2 5.6 9.6

Goals:
St.Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Stanley 3, Dunstan, Ray 2, Murdoch, Armitage, Schneider, Montagna, Shenton.

Fremantle: Fyfe, Pavlich 2, Pearce, Taberner, Morabito, Barlow, Mayne.

Best:

St.Kilda: Hayes, Riewoldt, Stanley, Ray, Savage, Dunstan

Fremantle: Barlow, Crowley, Duffield.

Umpires: Fisher, Rosebury, McInerney.

Crowd: 16,594 at Etihad Stadium.

Votes:

Our Votes: Riewoldt (St.K) 3, R.Stanley (St.K) 2, Hayes (St.K) 1

Brownlow:

Comments

  1. Neil Anderson says

    I can feel the absolute joy coming through in your writing. As a member of the exclusive one-premiership club, it brought back memories of desperately listening to what we used to call the ‘tranny’ back in the olden days. Quite often the lower-rated Club’s matches wouldn’t be broadcasted direct so you would depend on ‘around the grounds’ crosses for the scores.
    I had to smile reading how you were working on your I.pad and keeping your phone handy for the scores. This is such a different world for supporters from even twenty years ago.
    I think with our teams programmed by the AFL to sit near the bottom of the ladder for quite a while, we revel in these sort of wins and celebrate one for the good guys. Like Lenny.
    I don’t think supporters of the top teams would appreciate just how much it means for us to get a win like this out of the blue.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Andy,

    wasn’t it wonderful. My friend was listening with her mother and getting very excited, and she came over later and watched the replay after the game. I still have it. I may never erase it! It is the happiest game for years and the boys were so unbelievably and deservedly happy. Go Saints. Great match report.

    Yvette

  3. Yvette Wroby says

    I also meant to say I think it will bring the fans back to the game.

  4. Braham Dabscheck says

    Great work Andy. To take up Neil’s point I remember listening to a game on the radio, I think it was in 1958!!!, where Alan Jeans kicked a late goal for a memorable Saints win. So the cycle continues.

    Braham

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